Placement for refugee scholar on offer

September 2, 2005

Academic refugees have an opportunity to restart their research in the UK with the launch of a science scholarship at the British Library, the first of its kind, writes Olga Wojtas.

The Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (Cara) has joined forces with the British Library to offer one refugee academic the honorary research position of science scholar-in-residence at the British Library's new centre for scholars and writers. The part-time, nine-month placement will begin on November 7.

John Akker, Cara's executive secretary, said there was a growing number of academic refugees, notably from Iraq, Iran, Sudan and Ethiopia.

"A large number are becoming increasingly frustrated that they are not able to use their skills," he said. "We wanted to set up partnership arrangements (with the British Library) so we could give some well-qualified scholars an opportunity to use all their facilities."

The Cara scholar will be able to use the British Library's collections to carry out a research project and contribute to the library's series of public programmes.

The centre will include fellows from all disciplines, and will help them to share ideas and offer a supportive atmosphere.

The library is unique in housing within one building scientific and technical literature and a collection of patents from almost every issuing authority in the world.

Cara has offered grants to academic refugees since the 1930s but this is its first scholarship. The deadline for applications is September 19.

Anyone interested should contact Cara since applications will be sent only to eligible candidates, who must have held an academic post outside the UK.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Cafferty or Marieke Stroink on 020 7021 0883/4, by e-mail at or by post at: BL Scholar, CARA, London South Bank University, Technopark, 90 London Road, London, SE1 6LN.

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